December 18, 2017

Top 10 Healthy Meals on a Budget

Food takes a large share of your weekly budget, and truth be told, healthy eating while saving money on food can be a bit challenging. But with enough planning and some creativity, you can whip up healthy meals without going over your budget.

There are so many things that you can do as far as saving money on groceries is concerned. For instance, you can buy whole ingredients instead of pre-packaged ones. Buy produce that’s in season. There are items that enable you to save a lot if you buy in bulk. Also, meal planning is helpful in saving money on food and avoiding too much food wastage.

In this article, we’ll give you 10 healthy meal ideas that won’t break the bank:

1. French Onion Potato Bake

It may sound a bit fancy but this dish is so simple, it only requires four ingredients. The layers of potatoes, onion, and creamy sauce make for a main meal paired with a fresh salad.

2. Broccoli and Steak Stir-fry

This healthy dish with steak and broccoli will surely fit your grocery shopping budget. All you need are small steak pieces, broccoli, garlic, soy sauce, and salt and pepper.

3. Omurice (Japanese Omelette Rice)

Feeling Japanese? Consider cooking omurice. It’s an omelette over a mix of rice, chicken, and vegetables.

4. BBQ Hoisin and Honey Chicken

For an Asian lunch or dinner, try this chicken dish that kids will surely love. It’s easy to cook, plus it’s flavourful and easy on the wallet.

5. Lentil and Lemon Soup

Don’t underestimate the simple combination of these humble ingredients. You can whip up a hearty, healthy meal with lentils, vegetables, and some seasoning.

6. Green Salmon

Just bake a piece of salmon plus your choice of vegetables such as broccoli and asparagus and you’ll have a nice, healthy meal that’s easy to prepare.

7. Make Your Own Pizza

Load up your pizza with spinach, mushrooms, olives, bell peppers, cheese, and tomato sauce. If you’re not up for a veggie pizza, you can always add chicken or any other protein-packed food.

8. Vegetable Soup

Looking for a meal that’s both healthy and easy to prepare? Look no further than a pot of soup with a variety of vegetables.

9. Veggie Frittata

Another delicious and easy-to-prepare dish is a veggie frittata that’s loaded with spinach, onion, zucchini, cheese, and seasoning.

10. Pumpkin Risotto

Pumpkin, the star of this dish, is loaded with nutrients that are good for your body.

Got other ideas on how to save money on food? Share your grocery shopping tips in the comments section.

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Are Healthy Meal Delivery Services Right for You?

Healthy meal delivery services are getting increasingly popular in Australia. Obviously, meal delivery service is the solution for those who don’t have the time to prepare meals themselves. However, they might not be right for everyone. In this article, we’ll take a look at what you need to know about them.

Maintaining a healthy and balanced diet is not as easy as it sounds for some people, especially for those with a busy lifestyles. This makes preparing a nutritious and healthy meal every day a significant challenge. Thanks to these healthy meal delivery services, consumers are now be able to simply order their meals ahead of time and get to enjoy some hearty meals when they get home.

However, these meal delivery services sometimes can be quite expensive. You can expect to spend about $200 per month per person if you intend to eat their meals on a regular basis. Clearly, this might not be the best option if you want to save money on food. It’s all about the convenience of having healthy meals, as it saves you time on cooking and cleaning.

Are healthy meal delivery services right for you? It depends on your needs. If you want healthy meals delivered right at your doorstep on a regular basis then this is the way to go. To ensure that you’re getting good values for your money, consider these things when choosing your healthy meal delivery service:

Check the ingredients

One of the problems in the health food industry is that even food is marketed as healthy, they are still often loaded with artificial sweeteners and sodium. Know what’s in the meals and make sure that it offers you a nutritious and balanced diet.

Add a side of salad or vegetables

The meals from some of these services mainly focus on the protein component, with barely any vegetable in each meal. It is ideal that you add a side of salad or vegetables. However, this will also increase the total cost per meal. So it is important to keep this in mind

Do they source their produce locally?

Do they do everything from scratch? These are just some of the questions that you need to ask to make sure that you get what you pay for. Also some of these services offer a wide range of freshly prepared, chilled meals and frozen meals. If this difference is important to you, make sure you understand what they’re offering before you order.

Do you have other ideas on healthy meal delivery services and how to save money on food? Share your tips in the comments section.

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Understanding Supermarket Rewards Programs in Australia 

In any Australian household, food gets a lion’s share of the weekly budget, excluding mortgage, if any. That’s why a lot of people are always getting creative and resourceful when it comes to saving money on food. There are actually a lot of ways to do this. One of these is to take advantage of supermarket rewards programs.

Different supermarkets are involved in this endless battle of the rewards programs. In an attempt to win more customers, you’ll see various marketing tactics. How can you choose the one that can help save money when it comes to grocery shopping? Let’s take a look at the features of several supermarket rewards programs so you can weigh the pros and cons and choose the right one:

Everyday Money Reward Points by Woolworths

  • You get one point for every $1 you spend on select products. You can increase the earn rate when you use a Visa card.
  • To redeem points, the points you’ve earned within four months will be converted into a Money Shopping Card worth $20. Take note that you need to earn at least 4,000 reward points to be eligible for the Money Shopping Card.
  • You can redeem the card at Woolworths supermarkets, as well as in other establishments such as BIG W, BWS, Dan Murphys, Master Home Improvement, Thomas Dux, and participating Caltex Woolworths fuel outlets. You can likewise redeem it online at Cellarmasters.
  • There is no annual fee for the first year, but for the subsequent years, the yearly fee is $49.

Flybuys by Coles

  • You earn two points for every $1 you spend, but you can also earn up to three points for every dollar you spend at any flybuys partners or at Coles Supermarkets.
  • You can redeem points for flybuys Dollars at Coles Supermarkets, as well as at Kmart, Kmart Tyre & Auto Service, Target, Liquorland, First Choice Liquor, and Coles Express.
  • A total of 2,000 flybuys points can be redeemed for $10 off.
  • It comes with an annual fee of $89.

Saving money on groceries is not a challenging task. Taking advantage of the benefits that supermarkets offer loyal customers can help save money on food and other products. Should you decide to get one for your grocery shopping trips, make sure to understand how the process works.

Do you have other ideas on how to save money on food? Share your grocery shopping tips in the comments section.

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Does Buying Grocery in Bulk Save You Money?

Since food accounts for a big chunk of the budget on a weekly basis, some people think of ways on how to save money on food. Saving money on groceries is not that difficult. With a few tricks and techniques, you can lower your grocery bill without having to scrimp on food items that you want to buy.

When it comes to saving money on food, one way that you can do is t o buy grocery in bulk. You can get significant savings and at the same time, ensure that you’ll have the ingredients that you need. But you don’t just want to buy anything in bulk. In this article, knowing how to buy grocery in bulk can save you money:

Save up for bulk buying

Your grocery bill varies week after week. When you have leftover money from your grocery budget, make sure to put it in your bulk buying fund. When you see that a certain item that you need is on sale, you can spend your fund to buy in bulk.

Stock up on food items that you always need

It’s just a waste of space, time, and money to buy a lot of the items that you don’t normally use.  Make a list of your usual ingredients and when they’re on sale, buy them in bulk and get significant savings.

Make sure that the bulk price is lower

In some cases, the price of buying in bulk is actually higher, defeating the purpose of stocking up to save money on food. For smaller items, you can do multi-buy sales instead of going for bulk buying so you can still get a good deal.

Don’t hoard food items

Bulk buying doesn’t mean almost emptying the shelves of things that you need. It just means buying a little more than you normally would, especially when they’re on sale.

Go beyond supermarkets

Bulk buying can be done not only in supermarkets but also in local markets. Check out food items that are offered at reduced prices especially before the day ends. Seasonal fruits and vegetables are some of the items that you can buy in bulk – just store them well or make preserves. As for meat products, you can ask your local butcher about bulk buying. You can stock up on beef or pork cuts and store them in the freezer. It’s a great way to save money on food.

Got other tips on how to save money on food? Share your ideas on grocery shopping in the comments section.

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14 Kitchen hacks to reduce food waste

It is estimated that Australians throw out $8 billion worth of food every year, 33 percent of which consists of fresh produce, 27 percent is leftover food, packaged items account for 15 percent, frozen food and drinks are nine percent, and seven percent of wasted food comes in the form of takeaway. Admit it or not, we’re all guilty of food wastage. Here are 14 kitchen hacks to minimise food waste:

1. Plan your meals

Meal planning is a powerful step to stop food wastage. This enables you to know which items are already in your fridge and pantry, and buy only the ingredients that you need.

2. Check the fridge and pantry before grocery shopping

Food wastage can come from having a lot of the same ingredients only because you didn’t check what you already have.

3. Create a shopping list and stick to it

Resist the temptation of buying things that you don’t need for that week, based on your meal plan. Saving money on groceries entails sticking to your list.

4. Minimise the number of trips to the supermarket

It’s very likely that you’ll buy more items every time you go grocery shopping, so make sure to avoid doing it several times a week.

5. Understand what expiry labels mean

Keep in mind that the “best before date” means that food is still safe to eat even a few days after the date specified. The “use by date” means that food should be eaten on or before the date indicated.

6. Store fruits and vegetables properly

Know the right way to store different kinds of produce. Also, eat the most perishable items first.

7. Don’t throw overripe fresh produce

Use overripe fruits to make ice cream or smoothies. Make banana cakes, or pasta sauce if you have a lot of soft tomatoes.

8. Store cooked meals the right way

Don’t put hot food in the fridge. Transfer your cooked meal into containers and let it cool first.

9. Freeze fruits and vegetables

Freezing is a great way to store seasonal produce that you can use in the off-season.

10. Use vegetable scraps to make stock

Put all onion peelings, stalks, carrot tops, and leaves in a ziploc bag and store it in the freezer, then take it out when you need some vegetable stock.

11. Eat leftovers

All you need to do is store any leftover food in the freezer and just reheat it.

12. Be mindful of serving portions

Start with smaller portion sizes. You can go for a second helping if you want more food.

13. Consider making a compost

Throw kitchen scraps in the compost pit and you’ll soon have healthy soil where you can grow your own vegetables.

14. Keep a waste log

Know what you’re throwing out so you can prevent doing the same in the future.

Got other tips on how to save money on food? Share your grocery shopping ideas in the comments section.

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Reasons Why You should Give Discount Supermarkets a Try

Food accounts for a large chunk of your household budget, and most people are tirelessly looking for ways on how to save money on food. Some go for meal planning and buying items in bulk, while others attest to cooking in batches and going to local markets. These are all simple ways to save money on groceries.

Where you shop can also mean big savings, and another grocery shopping tip is to shop at discount supermarkets. Why? Here are some of the reasons why you should give discount supermarkets a try.

Products are cheaper

Price is a main factor when people decide where to shop, and saving money on groceries is easy if you shop at discount supermarkets. In Aldi, for instance, it is said that products in this discount supermarket are 25 percent cheaper compared to other major supermarkets. That in itself is a great way to save money on grocery shopping.

You learn to be flexible with your ingredients

If you’re serious about saving money, you need to adapt to what’s available. If you go to a discount supermarket and you cannot find the item that you need, substitute it with another product that meets your needs and even comes with a lower price tag. Learn to rearrange your meals so you can get the most out of discount supermarkets.

Discount supermarkets are smaller, offering fewer products of the same kind

This may sound like a disadvantage, but think about the numerous times when you’re in a major supermarket and it takes you a long time to finish your grocery shopping. Major supermarkets tend to offer a lot of products, with marketing tactics that never fail to attract consumers. With discount supermarkets, you can focus on the products that you need and be done with your weekly errand sooner than when you drop by a major supermarket. You will eventually save more money in this way.

Whether we admit it or not, where we shop tells a lot about our social status, and for whatever reason, some people don’t want other people to see them doing their grocery shopping at discount supermarkets. For the money-conscious, price is the game-changer, and buying products at discount supermarkets can mean significant savings on their budget. You can give it a try and see if it’s worth it.

Got other ideas on how to save money on groceries? Share your grocery shopping tips in the comments section.

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12 Meal Prep Ideas to Help You Save Money

Planning your meals for an entire week can help you in saving money on food. It may sound challenging but once you get used to it, you’ll be happy with the time and cash you save. Here are some tips on how to save money on food:

1. Make a list

Start your meal prep by making a list of your favourite recipes. Use your list as a guide to your grocery shopping. If you’ve just started with meal preparation, you can make two meals a week and gradually increase your recipes each week until you get the hang of it.

2. Make meals in bulk

Who wants to cook five times a day? To lessen the time spent in the kitchen, why not cook in bulk? You can start by cooking more than the usual amount of food for dinner and save half of it for your lunch the next day.

3. Fill the fridge with choices

Store food in your fridge and freeze it for later use. Make dinner, lunch in advance. You can also store leftovers and just reheat them when needed.

4. Cooking day

Dedicate a day for cooking your dishes ahead of time. If you’re working, cook your meals for the week on a Saturday or Sunday.

5. The snacks

Buy fresh fruits and vegetables as snacks on your weekly grocery shopping trip. Save money on groceries by picking whole packs of fresh fruits instead of pre-cut/pre-packed fruits and veggies.

6. Use jars

Have a pile of jars at home? You can use them to store and divide your dry snacks such as nuts and crackers for the whole week.

7. Chop it all up

Chop all of your vegetables at once, store them in a jar or container, and put them in the fridge. It’ll save you some time in preparing food for the rest of the week.

8. The leftovers

Don’t just throw them away. Be creative and turn your leftovers into new dishes.

9. Sunday dinner

Another meal prep hack other people usually do is cooking extra amount of food and saving the leftovers as meals for the next few days.

10. Eggs, eggs, and eggs

You can boil several eggs at once and use them in a variety of meals for the entire week.

11. Freeze them up

Pre-cut your ingredients, put them in a ziplock bag, and freeze them.

12. Rock the oats

Overnight oats are getting more and more popular for busy people. Be creative in making your overnight oats. You can add fruits and nuts for extra flavor.

Got other tips for saving money on meal preparation and grocery shopping? Share your ideas in the comments section.

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Ways to Save Money while Eating Out

Eating out is one of the things many Australians want to do after a long day at work or a hectic week. Families go out for a nice dinner. Friends get together to have some drinks on a Friday night. Of course, it costs money. For those who are saving money on food, eating out may be less frequent in Australia. They may even do grocery shopping on a Sunday to buy food that will last for several days. There’s nothing wrong with saving money on food, and eating out does not have to be expensive. With some simple tricks and tips, you can enjoy eating out without breaking the bank:

Check the menus online before going out

Saving money on food involves a bit of research. When you go grocery shopping, you usually look around to see which supermarket offers great deals. The same goes for eating out. Many restaurants post their menus on their websites or social media accounts. Check the dishes and their prices so you can choose one that offers the best value.

Look for a restaurant that has a BYO wine option

A glass of wine when eating out costs a lot, compared to a bottle of wine from a supermarket. Ask if the restaurant allows a BYO (bring your own) wine. It usually comes with a small corkage fee but it can significantly cut the drinking costs.

Share some of the dishes with another person

For instance, there are restaurants that offer entreės which are enough for two people. You can save money on food and still taste the restaurant’s offerings by sharing some dishes with a friend.

Look for promos, deals, and/or discounts

Take advantage of birthday discounts, anniversary promos, coupons, and other specials that many restaurants offer. Subscribe to their email newsletters or follow their social media accounts so you don’t miss out on these deals.

Skip the dessert

Saving money on food entails a bit of sacrifice. Refrain from ordering desserts. It’s good not only for your wallet but also for your waistline. But if your sweet tooth tells you otherwise, you can go to the grocery store to buy some sweets before going home.

Eating out is indeed one of life’s pleasures and a way for us to unwind and have fun. You don’t have to avoid it completely if you’re on a budget. Keep these tips in mind so you can save money.

Do you have other tips on saving money on food in Australia? Share your ideas in the comments section.

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Freeze Fruits when in Season to Save Money

Food accounts for a large chunk of your weekly budget, so for the money-conscious, saving money on grocery shopping is a welcome idea in Australia. Fruits are some of the items commonly bought every week, but since these are perishable, we don’t usually buy them in bulk which can save us a lot of money. One way to save money is to freeze fruits when in season.

Of course, nothing beats eating fresh fruits, but freezing them is still good for you. You can get their nutritional value compared to consuming canned fruits which can be loaded with sugar and preservatives. What’s more, you can save money when you buy fruits in bulk especially when they’re in season. If you come across a good deal on fruits when grocery shopping, take advantage of it and just freeze them to get the most out of your purchase. Apples, peaches, strawberries, blackberries, blueberries, raspberries, papaya, and cherries are just some of the many fruits that can be bought in bulk and frozen for future use.

So how do you freeze fruits that are in season to save money? In general, you need to choose fruits that are just ripe. Make sure to wash and drain them well as excess water can form ice crystals. Cut and/or peel fruits, removing the bruised parts. Place the fruits in a clear zip lock bag or container then freeze. Just get them out of the freezer when needed. Labelling each bag or container will help you identify fruits easily.

Another way is to place fruit slices on a flat parchment paper and let it freeze. The following day, you can place all frozen fruits into clear zip lock bags or containers for storage.

Frozen fruits can be used in a wide range of dishes. Got strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries? You can whip up a triple berry smoothie. Just add milk or yogurt to make it creamy and more delicious. Make great dips made out of frozen avocadoes. Frozen fruits can also be used in baking various pies.

When it comes to shelf life, you can store fruits in the freezer for up to one year. Also, for fruits such as apples and pears that turn brown easily, you can add citric acid to the fruits before freezing them.

Indeed, saving money on food shouldn’t be a difficult task. It just entails a bit of creativity and resourcefulness to get the most out of your food purchases.

Got other tips on grocery shopping and saving money on food in Australia? Share your ideas in the comments section below.

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Is Watching Master Chef Costing Your Family Too Much Money?

For those who love to cook or want to know how to cook, watching cooking shows on TV is a great pastime in Australia. Some may feel inspired to whip up their own versions of different dishes, while others just enjoy seeing great food plating and learn more about other types of cuisines.

One of the many cooking shows on TV is Master Chef that features various home cooks battling it out for the grand title. They may not have professional training or experience, but most of the home cooks being featured in the show have the knowledge and ability to create gourmet dishes that are worthy to be part of the menu of a nice restaurant.

Watching Master Chef can be really enjoyable, and a lot of home cooks can relate to the participants. But does seeing all sorts of gourmet dishes presented on the show affect you in the sense that you would also like to cook similar dishes? Is watching the show costing your family too much money since you want to have the same food experience at home?

There’s nothing wrong with watching Master Chef, but if it negatively influences you such as overspending when grocery shopping, then there’s a need to take certain things into consideration. The thing is, you can get inspiration from those gourmet dishes while saving money on groceries. Here are some ways on how to save money on food and still get that gourmet look and feel on your meals at home:

  • Look for gourmet recipes which entail simple ingredients. There are delicious meals that call for only a handful of ingredients but still have a great impact when served effectively.
  • Improve your plating skills. Even the simplest dishes can look expensive and delicious with proper plating skills. This won’t cost you a penny but your meals will look like they came out of a restaurant kitchen.
  • Opt for cheaper cuts of meat. You can substitute expensive meat cuts with cheaper ones and still taste just as good.

Watching cooking shows does not need to have a negative impact to your grocery shopping habits. In fact, it should influence you to make better food choices and be more creative in your dishes, whether in the variety of meals or how you present them. In the end, you can consider cooking shows as inspiration to cook better while saving money on food.

Do you know other ways on how to save money on food in Australia? Share your grocery shopping tips in the comments section below.

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